"Just won a big one" comes to an end...

Discussion in 'General Industry Discussions' started by Herrick, Dec 9, 2012.

  1. Will P.C.

    Will P.C. LawnSite Senior Member
    Posts: 965

    Sounds like your bid was way too low. There 'is' a reason you got the job and most likely the property manager saw a opportunity to save 30k and take you to the cleaners. Even guys with many years and previous experience with these types of properties struggle over their final bid to turn in.

    On paper, senior living neighborhoods don't seem too bad. You probably thought to yourself, "not much grass, and we can knock the trimming/edging out fast" These places are riddled with walkways, curbs, patios, fences, and many more obstacles that someone without the experience wouldn't see due to the high emotions of 'scoring' such a 'great' job.

    These places run much smoother when you can 5-6 Mexicans doing each lot like an assembly line.

    I am surprised to see you last 3 years. I probably would have lasted 3 months.

    The positive thing is that you seemed to have learned from your experience and are restructing and reevaluating what you can and cannot do. Furthermore, what 'you' 'want' to do.
  2. 32vld

    32vld LawnSite Gold Member
    Posts: 3,984

    24 x 50hr x $50 = $60,000

    You mowed a $60,000 job for $30,000. That is low balling.

    People biding are just like people at an auction. They have to win. So the collector over pays for the antique table. The contractor is willing to low ball so he wins the bid. Then lucky he breaks even.

    There is not an LCO that will not hesitate to charge his hourly rate. And will refuse to do a $50 lawn for $40. Yet soon as they see the words BID and Large Property they can't wait to low ball.
  3. Lawnvision

    Lawnvision LawnSite Member
    Posts: 56

    If just the mowing was 30K per year then thats $1,250 per cut right? If you send a 4-man crew at 10 hrs each/ $12 an Hr($16 if you figure what they cost with taxes), then you have $640.00 in cost to mow it plus maybe 20 gallons fuel at most($70.00). Your at $710.00 in expenses and $540.00 left over before overhead(figure an overhead cost of $ 100.00 per day of operation for truck/3 mower payments/insurance/etc. if you take total monthly pmts divided over 20 working days M-F). You have a daily profit of about $400.00. Not sure how you can't profit on that, sitting at home and paying someone else nonetheless. You just need to repeat that model every day of the week.
  4. Herrick

    Herrick LawnSite Senior Member
    Posts: 506

    That's just it, I had this huge job, and the rest were jobs that took me less than an hour by myself. I'm not paying 4 guys to watch me mow, or turn an hour job into 30 min. One of my biggest issues was my help... Dad liked to ride around on the mower... No walking for him. My wife, as much as I love her, liked to duck out on the hard work too. So I had one worker that was working at 50% and one at maybe 75%.

    Fuel cost was a lot more than $70.... At least 30 hours a week x 1.5 gal/hr x $3.50/gal=$157.50. And that's only when gas is that cheap... We saw over $4/gal for a while this year.
  5. italianstallion69

    italianstallion69 LawnSite Member
    Posts: 108

    youre not the only one who messes up a bid.

    I lost 35grand on a project we were doing before I pulled the plug. The "allure" of a 99grand contract was high, but challenges on site made a 3 week project run to 2 months, I ran some numbers and told the crew stop going there!

    dont feel bad tho. I sucessfully did an 85grand contract last week. You can bounce back just as easy as that.

    learn to watch your numbers like a hawk. Youve got a bid youve got to work with that. if the numbers start looking horrible, abandon ship and throw it to your lawyer
  6. Watkins

    Watkins LawnSite Member
    Posts: 107

    That's a hell of a story man, not so unique but a good lesson you have learned.
    I understand where you thought you would make money and didn't make 100% profit from the amount you put into it.
    I've bid a job before where I estimated the time to be one day and we were there for almost 3 days and lost a few hundred but he added some things outside of the contract and to be nice because I was not busy we added a little to the price and helped him out.
    In the end he gave us more work from his friends and business partners and he promised never to tell of the discounted price we gave him.
  7. Green-Man

    Green-Man LawnSite Bronze Member
    Posts: 1,069

    Wow thanks for telling us this story! Im only 17 and I want to have a "Big" business just like most people. I know it won't be easy but now you show us we need to take our time before jumping into something to make sure it is worth it.
  8. Herrick

    Herrick LawnSite Senior Member
    Posts: 506


    Just because the contract says you get $xxxxx, doesn't mean it all goes into your pocket.

    If you don't have the equipment, or can't afford to buy it for a job, don't take it on. In the same idea, if you have to hire more than one guy to do the job, don't take it on.

    Old people are picky, and have a lot of time on their hands...they expect you to do the same.
  9. 4 seasons lawn&land

    4 seasons lawn&land LawnSite Gold Member
    from NY
    Posts: 3,597

    must be a good feeling to be free after all that though.

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